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Why Are These the Best Places to See in Bethlehem?

February 16, 2020

The biblical city of Bethlehem, which means in Hebrew “House of Bread,” is known as Rachel’s burial place and King David’s city of origin, but, more famously, it is the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem is located to the south of Jerusalem and is home to around 25,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs. 

It proudly holds the title of one of the holiest places in Christendom. Thousands of tourists visit each year and enjoy the sunshiny and vibrant city of Bethlehem.

If you’re planning to visit Bethlehem, bring your passport, spending money (for cheap but quality restaurant dining and souvenir shopping), and a childlike imagination to bring to life the biblical stories that took place in this now-modern Middle Eastern city.


Church of the Nativity and Manger Square

The Church of the Nativity, located in the city center, is built atop the Holy Crypt, a cave where tradition holds that Jesus was born.  It was originally constructed by the Byzantines in the 2nd and 5th centuries AD, and remains the foundations of today’s church, which has seen additions and renovations from as early as the Crusaders and on to the modern era. It is considered one of the holiest sites in Christendom and receives millions of visitors each year.

Inside the stone church, you’ll firstly notice beautiful high ceilings, colorful stained glass windows, staunch columns, and elaborate candelabras. A sense of reverence fills the atmosphere as flickering light from the candles dances on the walls and prayers are whispered.

Stretching out in front of the church is Manger Square. If you visit Bethlehem during the Christmas season, you won’t be disappointed. The square is wholly transformed into a Christmas wonderland by sparkling lights, star-topped Christmas trees, music, food vendors, and shops selling ornaments, wooden figurines, and anything that rings of Christmas cheer. 


Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity


The Chapel of the Milk Grotto

The Chapel of the Milk Grotto of Our Lady is a Catholic Chapel erected in 1872. The Chapel was erected around a cave, which tradition says was where Mary and Joseph stopped while fleeing Herod’s soldiers on their way to Egypt. As the story goes, while Mary fed Jesus, a drop of her milk fell on the floor of the cave and changed its color to white. 

Many mix the soft white chalk of the cave with their food and pray to Our Lady of the Milk Grotto believing in the healing of infertile couples, an increase in the quantity of milk, and healing miracles for children. 


Judean Hills and the Shepherds’ Fields

In the New Testament, the shepherds’ story plays out at night in a field near Bethlehem. An angel of the Lord appears to a group of shepherds and announces the coming birth of Jesus, the Messiah.

If, when you read “fields,” you immediately think of flat plains, think again. The shepherds’ field is a desert hillside terraced with olive tree groves. Looking out from the top of the hill, you can close your eyes, put yourself in the dusty leather sandals of one of the shepherds, and imagine how you would react to such a miraculous event.


Shepherds Field

Shepherds Field


Bethlehem is a city packed with religious history. Its people are, without a doubt, warm and inviting.  You can buy a souvenir in one of the shops, and eat the delightful Arab cuisines at a family-run restaurant. 

Trust one of our experienced Palestinian guides to show you around this spectacular city on one of our daily tours. Book one today! Bethlehem is an experience you will never forget.

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